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Anscombe: 'Why I left NZ'

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 09:41
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Wales selection is a dream
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Outgoing Chiefs and Auckland utility back Gareth Anscombe said that he decided to switch his allegiance from New Zealand to Wales after realising he had little hope of making the All Blacks.

Anscombe, 23, who has signed to play for the Cardiff Blues, said he spoke with All Black coach Steve Hansen earlier this year and found he was well down the pecking order in his favoured position of flyhalf.

"There was a lot of factors, but I mean, there's a lot of classy No.10s that are floating around in New Zealand right now and they're all pretty young as well," he told Radio Sport.

"It's a good sign for rugby in this country that there is that problem I suppose."

New Zealand has an embarrassment of riches at pivot, with superstar Dan Carter top of the list and the likes of Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett proving more than capable understudies.

Anscombe qualifies to play for Wales through his Cardiff-born mother and said his family had always reinforced his "Welshness" even though he was born and raised in Auckland.

He said performing for Cardiff was his top priority but if he was presented with the chance to earn international honours in his new adopted homeland he would not turn it down.

"My focus is very much on the [Cardiff] Blues and if the opportunity to represent Wales comes as a result of my performances on the pitch then of course I will take it," he said.

New Zealand has a policy of not considering overseas-based players for the All Blacks and Anscombe said the decision to move was a tough one.

"However, in consultation with my family, I came to the conclusion that the opportunity in Wales was one that I simply couldn't turn down," he said.

Anscombe, who can play at flyhalf or fullback, will work under Cardiff's new director of rugby, former Wellington Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett.

Source: SAPA

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